Warming Up

Shows in February offer plenty of options to escape the cold and enjoy hot jazz, blues and more


There is big news this month for fans of live music. The Jewell is a new club in the Capitol District dedicated to jazz that will also play blues and related genres. The Jewell is named for Jimmy Jewell, who ran the renowned Dreamland Ballroom in Omaha, in the still-standing Jewell Building at 2221 N 24th St. The Dreamland Ballroom hosted nearly every up-and-coming or influential African-American jazz artist or big band from the 1920s through the 1960s. The Dreamland was the focal point of a series of clubs in the neighborhood where one might find folks like Charlie Christian jamming on off nights, according to an interview I conducted with the late Preston Love in the early 2000s.

Jewell founder Brian McKenna is a transplant to Omaha from the New York City area with a deep knowledge and love of jazz. He’s connected in the national and international jazz worlds. Those connections allow him to bring the David Sanborn Jazz Quintet in as the club’s grand-opening act. Sanborn is playing two shows a night Wednesday, Feb. 6, and Thursday, Feb. 7. Expect a mix of established artists, rising stars and gifted local players, including Mitch Towne and Curly Martin, to showcase their artistry on The Jewell’s stage. The club is designed to be a modern music venue of the sort you might find in bigger cities and will also have dinner available from chef de cuisine Jon Seymour (formerly of V. Mertz and Block 16), executive chef Mark Budler, and food & beverage director Brent Hockenberry. The Jewell is an exciting addition to local performance venues and is located at 1030 Capitol Ave. Patrons can enter through the Marriott or The Capitol Plaza. Find all the details and upcoming schedule at jewellomaha.com.

BSO Presents at Chrome

The February BSO Presents Thursday shows at Chrome Lounge feature great regional and national talent, including Grammy nominee and K.C. blues artist Danielle Nicole performing with K.C.’s Brandon Miller Band on Thursday, Feb. 21, 6-9 p.m. Nicole is nominated for Contemporary Blues Album for her second solo record, Cry No More. The rest of the Chrome Thursday schedule includes popular Kansas band Dustin Arbuckle & The Damnations on Thursday, Feb. 7. Robert Kimbrough Sr. Blues Connection is featured Thursday, Feb.14. The Paul Nelson Band is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 28. Chicago guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and longtime Magic Slim sideman John Primer plugs in Thursday, March 7. All Thursday shows are 6-9 p.m. See omahablues.com for more details plus a curated list of blues and roots shows in Omaha and Lincoln.

Zoo Bar Blues

Highlights from the February calendar at Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar include Lincoln Exposed on Feb. 5-9 and the Lauren Anderson Band on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6-9 p.m. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal are back from a three-week western run to play Thursday, Feb. 14, 6-9 p.m. Dustin Arbuckle & the Damnations perform Friday, Feb. 15, 5 p.m. The Mezcal Brothers shake it up Thursday, Feb. 21, 6-9 p.m. K.C.’s Brandon Miller Band plugs in Saturday, Feb. 23, 6-9 p.m. The Paul Nelson Band is featured Wednesday, Feb. 27, 6-9 p.m.

BluesEd Auditions

The Blues Society of Omaha’s BluesEd Youth Development Performance Program is holding auditions Feb. 17 for the 2019 summer program. Middle and high school students can submit applications through Feb. 10 at bluesed.com. The program offers mentoring, mentoring with accomplished clinicians and puts youth together in bands that get performance opportunities around the metro.

OEAAs Awarded

The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards were handed out Jan. 27. Roots music artists recognized this year include another win for Hector Anchondo Band as Best Blues. Matt Cox’s High Places won Album of the Year, Mitch Towne was awarded Best Jazz, Mesonjixx received Best Soul, Dominique Morgan was chosen Best R&B, Clarence Tilton got the nod for Best Country and Andrea von Kampen took home Best Americana/Folk. Watch for the list of all winners at oea-awards.org.

Hot Notes

The eclectic, multi-cultural jazz of Etiene Charles takes the Holland 1200 Club’s stage Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. See ticketomaha.com for details.

The Blues Society of Omaha hosts a benefit for local drummer Gunnar Guenette of Sailing in Soup on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2-8 p.m. at Chrome Lounge. Guenette needs financial assistance to afford much-needed surgeries. Performers include Lash LaRue & The Hired Guns, Hector Anchondo Band, Acoustic Groove and Sailing in Soup.

Kris Lager has a rare solo residency series Thursday nights at The B Side of the Benson Theatre. Catch Lager 7-9 p.m. each Thursday in February.

New Orleans’ duo Deltaphonic plays at The B. Bar, 4333 Leavenworth, on Thursday, Feb. 7, 9 p.m. The B Bar also presents early shows on Fridays, including the Lauren Anderson Band on Friday, Feb. 15, 5:30-8:30 and Dr. Duke Tumatoe on Friday, Feb. 22, 5:30-8:30 p.m. See Facebook.com/TheB.BarOmaha.

Adventurous music fans will want to check out Moon Hooch at The Slowdown on Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m. The horn and percussion trio weaves together jazz, funk and progressive sounds. New York magazine called the trio’s sound “Jay Gatsby on ecstasy.” Check them out at moonhooch.com.


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